She worked bent over the table, not looking up at the people spilling all round her. Middle-aged, she was resigned to this work, not expecting acknowledgement or kindness. She was a fixture, almost non-human, unseen, and she had long ago accepted that feeling.
That morning before leaving for work, he had cursed at her for waking him, yelling at her from the bed where he lay fully clothed, where he fell last night. He was drunk. He was mean. He had not worked for over six months. As she walked to the bus stop six blocks away, she considered leaving him, but she figured some man was better than no man. He did not lay a hand on her in anger, at least he had not yet done so.
This was the kind of thing that preccupied her thoughts here, where with each wipe of the towel on the table she wished that life could be cleaned so easily, the dirty part simply wiped away, a clean white surface all that remained.
She blamed herelf. She left her family with this man 15 years ago. She was afraid no one would want her, so she went. She defied her parents, and she missed them, was not there to care for them in their old age. She had regrets.
As she watched the people come and go, Rosa felt stuck, unable to leave, unable to believe that life could change. She signed heavily and bent over yet another table, as the people came and went.